Mary Dell writes: What’s for dinner? is our kids way of saying hello to us as they walk into the door from school. Akin to the movie Groundhog Day, we seek an answer to this same old question every 24 hours. But one day, perhaps while sipping a first cup of coffee in our empty nest, we realize the question has ceased to be so very pressing.
After 20 years of grocery shopping an average of 2.2 times a week, preparing family meals 3.5 times a week, many of us are, frankly, happy to say goodbye to the stage in our lives where we logged 2300 trips to the store to cook over 4000 dinners!
But transitioning from pushing baskets overflowing with each child’s favorite foods to shopping for just one or two adults, means thinking about cooking in a new way. Gone are the long lists, junky snacks and super-sized quantities. We have a chance to reboot our eating habits, ditching tired family favorites along the way.
“You will miss me the most.” my last child surprised me by saying, “Because after I’m gone it is going to be really, really quiet here.” And there it was, the truth out of the mouth of a sixteen year old, a truth that summed up so much about parenting. There is something special about eldest children. We don’t love them any more than the others, but it is their very existence that changes us from self-absorbed young adults into doting parents. Speaking for myself, no one person ever transformed my life so dramatically. But my youngest son has a point, his departure will bring a similar, massive change to my life. My oldest child may have made me a parent but my youngest child will make me an empty nester. Continue reading
Lisa writes: September’s turmoil is over. Bed Bath and Beyond has been depleted, dorm move-in has been successfully accomplished, and classes are in full swing. As parents, we can stop worrying about the transition to college and plan the visit. If you live close enough to your college age child and do not want to wait until Thanksgiving to see them, well, it’s time for a little journey. Some schools have an established Parents’ Weekend or you might just be heading to school on your own…either way, here are some things to think about.
Bring food, after all they are teens, need I say more. If you bake, you are a goddess. If you can’t bring provisions, the grocery store makes a nice family outing.
In my informal poll, okay my Facebook page, there was a strong feeling that “Parents’ Weekend” was not really the best parents’ weekend, that the crowds and the staged events were not the optimal atmosphere in which to visit offspring. Personal opinion will need to prevail.
If you are going to take your kid and, perhaps, their friends out, book early, really early. You will be unpleasantly surprised how fast reservations for hotels and restaurants in a college town will fill up for Parents’ Weekend. I reserved a hotel for parents’ weekend the night my son picked his college, a touch neurotic you say? Continue reading
From Gabby, a Grown and Flown writer: In the spirit of saying goodbye to your child, we college parents want to assure you that “goodbye” isn’t for long….
My witty sister-in-law coined the expression “Forced Family Fun” when referring to the mandatory family gatherings in which she requires her reluctant teens to take part. It has entered our family vernacular as we try to gather together all of the cousins, even those who are less enthusiastic about the “togetherness.” Continue reading